The Apr. 14 election is a crucial
episode for Venezuela, if Nicolas Maduro, the 51-year-old man designated by
Hugo Chavez to continue the Bolivarian Revolution, wins this elections, could
trigger a new wave of Venezuelan real estate investors into South Florida,
according to Miami realty lawyers and government sources familiar with similar
situations in the past. The red party will be in power for another six years
trough it leader's successor.
Nobody is predicting how large or small the capital flight from Venezuela will be.
El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish edition of The Miami Herald, could not find a private or public source willing to predict the size of new Venezuela arrivals in South Florida. A few Miami lawyers specializing in immigration cases, told the newspaper "possibly hundreds" might arrive over the next few weeks or months after April 14th election.
Those that do come are expected to request entry under the United States' EB-5 visa program.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Nicolas Maduro
Â This program gives foreigners
without a criminal record, who are not a threat to national security and who
are willing to invest at least $500,000 from legitimate sources in rural or
high-unemployment areas, conditional two-year resident cards that become
permanent visas later, if the investment creates at least 10 jobs.
Statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Venezuelan show visa usage in the EB-5 program has grown over the last few years.
The EB-5 visa is attractive for foreign entrepreneurs because it does not require having a close relative or a U.S. company willing to sponsor the immigrant, as required by conventional immigrant visas.
The number of Venezuelans who have immigrated, legally and illegally, to the United States has increased steadily. Some government sources estimate more than 200,000 Venezuelans live in the United States -- 57 percent in South Florida -- but that number could be higher because many are undocumented, according to El Nuevo Herald.
The total number of Venezuelans who have received permanent residence status has been growing from about 5,000 in 2002 to more than 9,000 in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security's office of immigration statistics.
Miami already has a Little Havana neighborhood. Now it may have another sector, Little Caracas.
Venezuelans already represent one of the largest groups of international buyers in the real estate market in Miami, according to the Miami Association of Realtors.
Venezuelans represent 15 to 16 percent of foreign clients with a preference for properties in Miami, Key Biscayne, Weston and Doral.
"Venezuelan buyers, who account for the highest percentage of foreign sales locally, have long played a major role in the Miami and South Florida real estate markets,"Â saidÂ Teresa King Kinney, chief executive officer of the Miami Association of Realtors.
"The election of Chavez's son" should further
boost Venezuelan buying activity in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, as buyers
and investors there seek a safe haven for their capital.Â Miami also
offers cultural affinity unlike any other city in the U.S. and profitable
returns on investments as the local market continues to strengthen.